Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pet Peeves and General Rantings of a Lunatic Mind

Who doesn’t have a pet peeve? I have one friend who cringes whenever someone crunches and chews on ice. I have another friend who always crunches and chews his ice. I try not to seat them together at a dinner party.

As a woman, I hate to walk into a bathroom where the toilet seat is up. My best guy friend hates it when I leave his bathroom without putting the toilet seat back up. He tells me that if I am to expect him to lower the seat at my place, I should be kind enough to raise it at his. I suppose he has a point.

I plan to expound on two of my peeves in this post: church signs and forwarded emails.

Catchy church signs annoy the mess out of me. Why? Because they are so stinkin’ cheesy!! Come on! Why would anyone want to join a church that advertises the following:

Trade God your pieces for His peace
Make your eternal reservations now… smoking or non-smoking
We’re too blessed to be depressed
God grades on the cross, not the curve
This church is prayer-conditioned
Warning: exposure to the Son may prevent burning
For all you do, His blood’s for you
Read the Bible, it will scare the hell out of you.

Forget about the fact that this is drivel for the most part, let’s see how many people groups can be alienated with just these very FEW sayings. There are thousands more… but it would take too long to continue the rant. Those suffering from mental illness are hit with the “depressed” statement. The smokers are certainly damned. Skin cancer patients will line up at the door of the church with the health warning and beer drinkers will certainly feel comfortable.

The ONLY things that should be advertised on a church sign are meeting times, event announcements and scripture passages. Really. That’s all. Any clever play on words will offend some and irritate most. Leave. It. Alone.

Forwarded emails give me almost the same amount of indigestion. If an email is going to be forwarded to 50 of your closest cybernet friends, the least you can do is delete all those address/forwards that appear at the top of the page. If I have to scroll fifteen feet down to get to the meat of the email, chances are the delete button will be hit before I go a quarter of an inch.

Some forwarded emails get deleted without even opening them. They typically come from those nearest and dearest to your heart bearing the subject line
FW:: FW::FW::FW::FW::FW::Send this to 15 people and you will win a million dollars from The House of Fred.
No. I will not forward it to even one person. As a matter of fact, I don’t know who the House of Fred is, and I do not intend to find out who the House of Fred is, whether I stand a chance at a million dollars or not. If Fred were that impressive, he would call me directly and give me the good news.

Then there are those forwarded emails that bear the worst art that has been created on the planet. Maybe it is the angel guarding the two small children crossing the bridge. I can get this picture at any Mapco or Cracker Barrel in the country… so I suppose I need to be grateful for those people who feel the need to send me my very own copy. Or, the art will bear close resemblance to the aforementioned cheesy advertising. It is typically going to be a Photoshopped version of some masterpiece with a warrior angel rising from the ashes of New York’s twin towers. Art is in the mind of the beholder, and all I can say is that there are some warped people in the world. Please stop sending me emails of bad art. Please. I will give to your children’s college funds if you can stop the insanity.

Of course, I will get the money by sending out emails.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Summer Vacation... with two 18 year old girls

Lesser women would shudder at the thought of vacationing with two beautiful 18 year old girls who had just graduated high school. Weak-willed females would fret that there would not be enough to entertain said beauties, but I cannot be classified as either lesser or weak-willed. This was my graduation gift to my eldest niece Kristin and her best friend Kaylie.

We were not without our obstacles. The trip had to be postponed for a day, and if I had been intelligent, we would have postponed it two days. This would have allowed us at least the first afternoon on the beach instead of arriving in town at 9:30 p.m. But alas, you live and learn.

Try to explain to these two cherubs the need to pack light. Go ahead. You give it a shot. It would be easier to convince them there is no Santa Claus. “Listen, you won’t need a lot of stuff. We’re staying on the beach. Really… you’ll only need some shorts and a bathing suit.”

“We’re going to take our graduation dresses. You have to take a dress too.”

“We’re not going anywhere that we need to dress up for. We’re going to be on the beach.”

“Right. Just make sure you pack that dress.”

I remembered back to the days when I traveled as a teenager. I didn’t pack light either. It is something you learn as you age. And I knew better than to pack a dress. I knew I wasn’t going to wear a dress. Did I pack the dress? Yes. Did I wear the dress? No. Why? Because I knew I wasn’t going to wear the dress but I succumbed to peer pressure and packed it anyway. That should have been my first clue. We crammed our luggage into the back of the Santa Fe and were ready to go. (Thankfully, the Santa Fe was roomy enough to pack heavy and allow me to still see out the window)

We left town at 2:00 pm on Sunday and headed south. Kristin perched in the front seat and Kaylie stretched out in the back. One quick stop at a gas station (for the snack foods that are required with any road trip over three hours) and onto the interstate we flew with the wind whipping through our hair and the sounds of “Play that Funky Music White Boy” coming from the CD player. Kaylie kept the beat with the music as she was text-messaging her not-quite-yet boyfriend every few seconds. She was amazing. She can text faster than I can type on a computer. Certainly why Kaylie is the Amayzing One!

The girls did a great job traveling. They had been warned about my habit of NOT stopping for restroom breaks, but I had determined that I would not mind stopping if it became a necessity. We stopped once around Montgomery for some fast food and then we stopped again at the Florida state line so that their pictures could be taken there and cute graduation gifts could be opened. (Yes… I am the Best. Aunt. Ever.) We finally pulled into the condo and unloaded the car. It was 9:30ish and apparently a rule of thumb for any young girl traveling to Florida is to unpack everything into the drawers and closets.

“Where are the hangers? We don’t have any hangers in our closet. Do you?”

“No. Why would I need a hanger? I brought shorts and swimsuits. What did you bring that you need a hanger for?”

“Hellooooo… our dresses! You did bring a dress, didn’t you?”

(sigh) “Put that on the list of things to get at Wal-Mart.”

We also had the duty of naming the statuesque pelican that stood just in the front hallway. I know we gave him a massive name... but for whatever reason, I have forgotten it now (that *#$&@! age thing creeping up on me) His nickname was Spike... that much I do remember.

We hit the Wal-Mart around 10:30pm and this old chick (who had been driving for seven hours) was starting to rapidly fade. Must. Get. Food. Must. Nourish. Children. Must. Buy. Hangers. With our purchases made (enough food for the week as well as a couple of DVDs, and plenty of peach colored hangers) we return to the condo for unpacking the car, the sequel, and head out to see the ocean. In the dark. Kristin doesn’t really like the beach in the dark. I think it is an unhealthy fear of crabs. At least I did not have to worry about her sneaking off to Spinnakers in the deepest part of the night.

We had no agenda on our vacation. I wonder if I should have planned one. I wanted them to be able to do whatever they wanted to do, and not to worry about having to be at this place by a certain time or that place. They were great. We had a couple of adult rules as well… since they are both legally adults now. They could not do anything illegal (which kept them from purchasing tobacco, liquor or getting into bars) and they could not go into a guy’s condo, and a guy could not come into ours. Pretty simple and they didn’t even blink at the requirements. Not. Once. I love these girls.

We could sleep as late as we wanted and we could wake up whenever we wanted. Breakfasts were on your own (cereal and Pop Tarts ruled!) and most mornings I woke up and sat on the balcony to read a book. I usually would head to the pool/beach before they were up and around. They would join me and tan their perfect 18 year old bodies while I was trying to camouflage the imperfections of my much older one. We’d head inside for lunch and then hit the afternoon sun. Kristin didn't care for sunbathing on the beach itself. One would think it was an aversion to the sand... but no, she swore she could hear the crabs moving about just under the surface. Okay. Sure.

We ate at Pineapple Willy’s and the Treasure Ship. PW is my favorite beach locale, and Kristin had great memories of the ship from her childhood. We spent one day doing some shopping and realized that Kaylie has a penchant (or is it a disease?) for thrift stores. We could not pass one without stopping… that would have been inhumane. She made the trek to the last of the stores on her own as Kristin and I had determined we didn’t need to own a Lafayette County Cheerleader t-shirt.

On Thursday, Kristin took a big permanent step towards her adulthood by getting her first tattoo. I say first, because she may choose to mark more places on her body. She decided on three stars that are located on her left shoulder blade. She was nervous as we pulled up and refused to let us remain in the building while she was being etched on. Kaylie and I walked around and waited for Kristin to come screaming out of the building with red ooze pouring from her shoulder. We were delighted when she calmly walked to the car and let us know that it was not painful at all and she was no worse for wear. There were pictures taken of the tattoo and emailed to family and friends from her laptop that evening.

When Friday rolled around, we decided that it was time to work the Maze. PCBeach has a great human-sized maze that my family has been following for some years now. Kaylie and I went off together and Kristin was on her own. (We didn’t want Kaylie to be overwhelmed with her first experience, and Kristin was okay to fly solo) Kaylie and I made it in 19 minutes and Kristin was about 5 minutes behind us.

We had the best time. Whether we were teaching Kaylie to play dominos (I won), were smearing oil on each other, or were laughing at Kaylie and her never-ending text messages...

"What's that?"

"Oh wow. Kaylie has a text message."

"Are you sure?"

"Mm-hmm. I can't believe she has a text. Why... just just had one 30 seconds ago."

"And 30 seconds before that one, and on and on and on..."

Kaylie was a sport with all our ribbing. I swear… these girls are crazy! They made me laugh out loud on more than a few occasions and they were just so great to hang with for a few days! My fears were abolished when I realized what truly beautiful young women were spending time with me. I have known Kaylie for a number of years now, and she just continues to shine.

Of course, I have fed, bathed, diapered and kissed Kristin’s boo-boos. I am awed at her beauty and spirit. And I am so grateful that they wanted to spend the week in Florida with an old gal like me!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Free Writing and Candles Galore!

So I'm pumped about the whole online writing class I am taking when one of my first assignments is to free-write for five minutes. I thought this would be pretty easy, and it is not too bad. My biggest problem is that during a free-writing session, there is no room for editing.

How can I possibly work through that obstacle? I write, and then re-write and then re-write a few more times before I can possibly consider letting anyone else ever take a look at it. What kind of sadist is this professor... telling me only to capture my thoughts and NOT to edit for either grammar or content.

I've gotten a little better at the entire free-writing process though. In this last lesson we were challenged to take four items in whatever room we were writing in and free-write a description or two about them. This is what I came up with (remember, I was not allowed to go back and edit, these are off the top of my head thoughts):

Mom & Janelle w/Tinkerbell photo

My mother and her sister went to Disney World in 2004 on their very first “sisters only” vacation. They are so excited to have been able to begin this tradition, and I wonder if their increasing age was the spur of it. I think that since there have been so many years spent apart from each other, both having lived with military men, they are seeking to re-establish their relationships. This picture is priceless to me because it is silliness personified. They are standing on Main Street before Cinderella’s castle and they have their hands cupped before them, as if they are holding something priceless. Their faces are that of excited children who never want to grow up and the fact that these women (70 and late 50) are hamming it up for the camera is pretty priceless. The Walt Disney people superimposed a “Tinkerbell” in their cupped hands and it just makes me realize that perhaps there is that part of us that never wishes to grow old.

50th Anniversary letter to my parents from the President

I don’t care how my father goes on about whining about our current government administration, I know one of his most prized possessions is framed and right over the light switch to this room. The President and Mrs. Bush were kind enough to send their congratulations to my parents on their 50th wedding anniversary. I did some online research and found that this was a normal occurrence for the President and was glad that it arrived in plenty of time for it to be matted and framed before their big party at the church. My father claims that he is a life-long democrat, but I am sure that Bill Clinton’s moral failures led him to secretly push the button for George W at the next election. He won’t admit that though, because he is nothing, if not loyal, and his father raised him to be a democrat, so that is what he is going to be, dadgumit. It doesn’t really matter that my grandfather passed away in the early 70s, but there was a time that his job was dependent upon a certain democrat keeping office, and my father has been a democrat ever since he was a young boy. This probably explains some of the reasons we don’t talk politics around here much!

Hope for Haiti box
The beautiful green box with the bird painted on it sits just to the right of my father’s desk. My friend Brent Gambrell gave me that box after his first mission trip to Haiti. It came with a specific purpose, and that was to place leftover change in it so that we would be able to contribute to his quarterly trip to Haiti. The box was originally given to me, but after his third Haitian trip, I was given a bigger box and “encouraged” to give a greater amount. I asked what I was supposed to do with the smaller box, and Brent decided that my parents needed to give to Haiti as well. Therefore, they now have their own box, and they are happy to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause. Brent continues to want me to make a trip with him, but once I saw that picture of the tarantula, I decided that Haiti was really the last place on earth that I needed to be!

Smokeless ashtray

My father loves to smoke cigars. I have no idea when he started this habit, but I am certain that it began sometime during his military career. There are plenty of old pictures of him with a cigar dangling from his lips as he tries to make an impressive picture for the camera. I don’t really care for the cigar, but it is one of his few vices and who am I to stop him from enjoying it? One of my family members gave him a smokeless ashtray as a gift. He has used it on occasion, but not all the time. I can always tell when he is not using it, as I can smell the cigar smoke from the back door of the house, regardless of where he has been puffing away. I wish he would use it more, but this is his place, and if he chooses to stink it up, who am I to call him on it?

Then... we were given our assignment for the week, which was to light a candle and describe it. I knew instantly just what candle I was going to light and describe... and here is the result:

Citrus Candle

As I stare at the flame burning in my citrus candle, I am whisked away in time and place to Panama City Beach, Florida. It is August 2003 and I have retreated from my life for just a few days. I purchased the candle at the local Wal-Mart there because I needed a fragrant light to help overcome the hysteria that my life had become. My closest friends had left the same day to relocate to another part of the country, taking three of the most precious children with them. There was a hole left in my heart. That logical part of me knew this was the best for their family but it continued to war with my emotions that screamed for their swift return to my everyday life. I needed a light to fill that solemn darkness. The candle worked wonders. Its sweet fragrance lifted my spirits. It glowed for me every evening during that retreat; whether it was on the dining room table or out on the balcony next to my journal. It gave off just enough light for my heart to pour itself out onto those pages, and it continues to illuminate my thoughts to this day. It is no longer a symbol of my desperation, but a sweet reminder of friendships never lost or forgotten.

I'm getting the hang of this here writing gig! Who knew it could be this much fun?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm a Writer... Who Knew?

I have toyed with the possibility of returning to college to finish my degree for some time now. The biggest thought is what my major would be. At 40+ I suppose I need to decide what I want to be when I grow up. What is it that really stirs a passion in me? There are some things I enjoy doing, but then there's writing. I love to write. I really, really do. So, if I ever do decide to return to school, I would major in creative writing.

As I was thinking about that a little harder, I did a little bit of research and found an online Beginning Writer's class out of MTSU, a university just about 15 minutes from me. I took a look at the course requirements, etc., and I signed up to take the class.

I had my first assignment yesterday. Nothing to turn in for the approval or disapproval of the instructor as yet, but it was a good assignment at any rate.

There were a couple of brainstorming exercises that made me focus on the "nothingness" of my surroundings and how when focused on the nothingness the brain can explode! Then I was to set a timer and "free write" for five minutes. Free writing is simply typing (or writing) for five minutes with no agenda in mind and no ability to edit. I began my free writing with thoughts on the grandfather clock in my den, which had tick-tocked its way into my brainstorming sessions a few minutes earlier, and somehow morphed and ended with a discussion of my college speech class. How strange that the brain works in such mysterious ways.

We also had to make a list of all the writing we have done over our lives. That is not as easy as one would think. But how cool is it to remember my first creative writing assignment? I never forgot the day that my sixth grade English teacher told us to take a piece of paper and write a story about anything. ANYTHING! This was a monumental moment for me as I can remember where that classroom was located and where my seat was situated. I can tell you that the assignment was given to me on a sunny day and that I had a mimeographed piece of paper to write upon. I can tell you that my story involved space ships and aliens and that I received an "A" on that paper. And I can tell you that moment probably sealed my fate as a writer. I have written other things since that time... magazine articles, promotional materials, playbills and scripts, but I've never felt like I was a writer. Until last night.

I took the class quiz and scored 100% on my first try (okay, so it really was easy, and it was multiple choice... but that's not the point) and finished reading the lesson. The instructor was adamant in stating that I was a writer. (She wasn't speaking specifically to me, but to the class in general) She made it clear that I am not playing at writing... but that I write. Whether I am ever published, I am a writer. In the back of my noggin, I jumped up and down with exhilarated excitement. Why? Because I've always wanted to be a writer. And now, I am finding out that I have always been one.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lucy & Ethel Have Four Eyes... Really They Do!

As children, taunting comes second nature. People with braces are called "metal mouth". People with lower grade point averages are "retards" and people who wear glasses are called "four eyes".

My family has its fair share of four eyes. I remember the day my mother took me to the optometrist in the third grade because I had begun squinting in class more often. The chalkboard became fuzzier and fuzzier. My mother cried as I walked into the exam room... which did not help ease my fears at all. I suppose she knew I was inheriting her eyes, and my older brother's as well. Thank the good Lord that my vision is not as bad as his! Whew! Couldn't see the broad side of a barn with his glasses. My younger brother has glasses as well, as does one of his children.

Lucy and Ethel both wear glasses too. Although Lucy has been told she has cataracts (and her father had them as well) she is not planning to do anything about it. She sees well enough, and just tries to limit her driving to daylight hours.

Being the younger of the two... Ethel has always had more fashion sense when it comes to make-up application. She was the one who taught me how to pluck my eyebrows... Lucy has only ever plucked a chicken, as far as I know. So, Ethel was VERY excited when they came upon a store that carried her make-up line there in Orlando. She typically has to order it over the phone or some other avenue. One of their excursions in Orlando was to said establishment where Ethel could purchase make-up to her heart's content.

That must have been what brought about Lucy's concern about her own make-up issues. One particular problem was that her eyeliner was abrasive on her sensitive eyes. It made her eyes water and they came to the conclusion that perhaps it had somehow been contaminated by perfume of some sort. Ethel, self-sacrificing sister that she is... applied the eyeliner to her own eye and did not have a problem.

Lucy took the same liner and applied it, only to begin another watering episode. It appears that while Ethel lines the bottom of the lid of her eye... Lucy likes to pull the bottom lid down and actually line ABOVE the eyelashes... into the eye itself. Much discussion arose on the correct technique of this application but was heightened as Ethel began to line her upper eyelid. Ethel realized that Lucy did not apply liner to the upper lid and inquired as to the reason.

Lucy's reply, "I don't put liner on my top eye."

Ethel's dumbstruck facial can only be imagined as she attempted to determine which eye was her top eye and which eye was her bottom eye.

Apparently those biology classes continue to allude Lucy & Ethel.


Lucy & Ethel Argue Over Scientific Data

Lucy & Ethel are continuing their onslaught on the state of Florida. They have met with old friends and toured old stomping grounds. Lucy’s husband was at one time stationed at Patrick Air Force Base close to Cocoa Beach and the sisters planned a day to tour that area of the state and see the Atlantic Ocean.

Lucy called home to get directions to her old house and her hubby… reminded her to simply turn left at the NCO club. Apparently in “Ricky’s” mind… nothing would have changed on an Air Force Base in… oh, say… 40 years or so. The homestead was never located… but a good time was had and Lucy & Ethel were impressed by the temporary housing at Patrick, and will no doubt, plan another trip there.

Ethel called one morning for an update and let me know that they had been on the lookout for alligators. Apparently their accommodations were close to a body of water, and they kept their eagle eyes peeled for such an opportunity. Whilst on the phone with me, Ethel just knew that she had indeed finally spotted a gator. However… it turned out to be a duck. How one can mistake a duck for an alligator is a little beyond me. But, she was going to make the best of it… trying to get her camera ready and hoping that the duck bobbed back under the water so that she could get a clean shot of her “gator”.

I wonder how Lucy & Ethel ever made it out of high school or college… what with apparently not doing well in biology (I mean, come on… a duck looks like a gator?) and probably not scoring high marks in physical science either.

Ethel talked Lucy into purchasing bottled water and freezing them each night in the small fridge/freezer combo of their condo. This would travel well in their (I am sure) matching rainbow backpacks and they would not be forced to spend $15 for a bottle of water in one of the theme parks. Ethel had quite the road to climb though in order to get Lucy to agree to the purchase of the water. Remember now that Lucy has an aversion to paying good money for something she thinks should be free, and now add to it her own warped view of science.

Apparently one cannot freeze water in a bottle for the fear of it bursting.

Yes. That’s right. Freezing water will burst/explode/erupt.

Must be why there has been that onslaught of exploding freezers across the country lately. All that frozen water going haywire!

Probably why new freezers make their own ice... because attempting to freeze water in old-fashioned ice trays are hazardous to your health.

Makes you wonder how all those horse-drawn ice trucks at the turn of the century ever managed.

Maybe Lucy was getting her ice bursting thoughts from remembering that metal expands when heated. Or… from the fact that water pipes can burst in the winter. Who knows how to interpret the minds of Lucy and Ethel? The most discerning scientists would never even dare.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lucy & Ethel Can't Start the Car...

You'd never know it to look at them, but keys are essential to everyday life. Where would we be without our house key... an office key... a car key? Locked in or out of said places.

Back in the pioneer days, huge bolts were fashioned across the home's door, or the barn door, to keep loved ones in and ravaging raiders or ferocious animals out. As a young child we watched "Paw" lock "Mary Ingels" up tightly every night.

Skeleton keys made their way into culture not far thereafter, but I am not certain how well they worked. Couldn't a skeleton key open anything another skeleton key could open? If so, my skeleton key would fit the door of my neighbor's house? Where is the logic in that?

My grandparents had a few furniture pieces that are operated with skeleton keys. A china cabinet and breakfront. Perhaps that is where the confusion has set in for Lucy and Ethel. The sisters are continuing their Orlando adventure, even as I type, and I called yesterday to check on them.

My aunt proudly proclaimed there was nothing unusual to report. Things had gone smoothly. They had not gotten lost as they ventured from the condo to Sea World, where they have watched all the shows... and were going to a luau that evening. I fretted because there would be nothing new to post today and there are so many people who are now depending on their antics to lessen the monotony of their days.

My aunt attempted, unsuccessfully, to explain her dyslexia to me (north is south, left is right... etc) I told her that I didn't think I could make an entry out of that and was therefore determined not to write anything this morning.

I left my cell phone in my car last night, and so I missed their evening call. Apparently the times they are a-changing... or apparently Lucy and Ethel were operating on the assumption that like some nightshirts I've seen "one size fits all". It is not true in this day and age. No matter how hard you try... and Lucy & Ethel can now attest to this fact first hand... you cannot operate a Dodge Caravan by utilizing a Ford truck key.

Nope. It. Just. Won't. Happen. No matter how hard you try... no matter if the key will actually fit in the ignition. It will not work.

Let's forget the fact that the Ford truck key is a completely DIFFERENT shape. Let's forget that the Dodge Caravan key itself has the alarm buttons built in it. Apparently the fact that they are both black held some confusion. They figured it out... and were back on the way.

Apparently the seat belt confusion is over.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Lucy & Ethel at Gay Pride Week

Lucy & Ethel are learning quite a few things whilst adventuring in Orlando, Florida this week... mainly they are learning that their timing may have been a little off. Apparently it is Gay Pride Week in Orlando, and many same-sex couples have headed that way to share the Disney experience with each other.

Lucy & Ethel are sisters... but you might not know that to look at them. Which means they are receiving their share of curious looks from the hetero community while no doubt being embraced by the homosexual patrons.

I learned this from a phone call during Day Two of the adventure. My aunt highlighted her driving skills ("I'm driving this minivan just like my VW Bug... U-turns, cutting over three lanes of traffic! You know... if you just pull out in front of someone, they'll stop") My mother apparently has YET to figure out how to work the seat belt, as she has once again attempted to exit the vehicle with it securely locking her in place. Then again, my aunt had already locked the van, so not only could my mother not get out of the seat itself, but was rather confused at her inability to exit the vehicle at all! More laughter and panty-wetting ensued!

Lucy & Ethel have a bad habit of dressing alike on occasion. They both had red shirts in their bags, and so they chose to wear them on Sunday. They finally made it to their destination to purchase tickets to various Orlando hotspots and sat down to plan their strategy... what day they were going to which location, etc.

A nice gentleman sat down close to them and noticed all the maps, tickets, and brochures that lay about as they were planning their Orlando takeover, and began a conversation. At some point, I suppose it became obvious that Lucy & Ethel were indeed sisters, and not lovers, and he let them in on a little secret he felt they needed to know: It was "Wear a Red Shirt If You're Gay Day" in Orlando.

My mother was appalled and declared they would be returning to their hotel so she could change shirts. My aunt, the budding entrepreneur, figures they can wear their red shirts and get additional discounts at the condo and restaurants that evening.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Are my mother and aunt Thelma and Louise? Or...

I'm a little jealous at the moment... so sue me. Two years ago I took my mother (71) and my aunt (late 50s?) on an adventure to Orlando, Florida. I was the designated driver. I say adventure because once we were in the car... there really was no road map, other than the one in my head, that got us to our destination.

The sisters (that's what we'll call them for now) had determined to make an annual pilgramage to some destination each year. They took a year off last summer because of my mother's knee surgery and recuperation... but they are back up and running this year. The harriest part of this adventure is that there is no one there to keep them in line and get them from point A to point B. I suppose I should be confident that they have both lived full and industrious lives all on their own up to this point, but the fact remains that having them let loose on the world (let alone unsuspecting FLA... who surely thought they'd seen the last of them two years ago) is a bit disconcerting.

Our adventure two years ago was filled with laughter and merriment... amidst the groanings of my aunt who would bemoan my stubbornness for driving straight past all those lovely outlet malls without slowing down once for her to even get a good look at all the bargains I was making her pass up! We left a day early (because if you begin an adventure, you must never hold to a time frame) and drove through the night until we were south of Atlanta and far enough from a racetrack that was hosting a NASCAR event the next day. (We tried to get rooms at three different hotels... all completely filled. It is hateful to live in the south when there is a NASCAR race looming on the horizon)

We made it to our resort in good time the next day and then wandered aimlessly as we tried to follow my aunt (who had stayed at this particular location more than once - but swears she's dyslexic when it suits her) around the complex. We learned early on that this was not the smartest move we could make... and I specifically gathered the troops (who were bent over with enough laughter that forced water from two different parts of their bodies... their eyes and well... YOU KNOW) and made our way to our room... which was the farthest end of the longest wing of the resort! I left them unattended for a few days while I visited some friends in nearby Lakeland, so as not to cramp their style and be a third wheel! When I returned, all was well and I was regaled with more baudy laughter and jokes and general silliness that only occurs between sisters.

I don't have a sister and when I watch these two, I am sometimes envious of that as well. They share a life that only sisters can share and they are marvelous women to watch and emulate. I am supposed to relate the adventures of their trip on this blog site, but I am to withhold their names, to protect the not-so-innocent, I'm sure. I thought about calling them Thelma and Louise... but I've seen that movie and I get that really ickky feeling that children get when they think about the older generation getting their groove on. I don't doubt my parents' or my aunt and uncle's sexual abilities... and I am not naive enough to think that they have only "done the deed" the necessary times to impregnant themselves... but I have a feeling that the movie would have ended much differently if my own "Thelma & Louise" had picked up Brad Pitt on the side of the road.

My aunt would have instructed Mr. Pitt to put his clothes back on, while my mother admonished him for leaving one woman for another... and (gasp!) impregnating her without the bonds of holy matrimony. Brad would never knew what hit him with these two.

To add to the intrigue of this adventure, my mother has just purchased a new vehicle. A Dodge Caravan that she got a great deal on because of some hail damage. She hasn't quite gotten the hang of these newfangled vehicles. I had to set all her radio stations for her, and show her how to lower and adjust the back seats. Last week while sitting in line at the carwash, she came to the horrible conclusion that if she exits the vehicle while it is still running and closes the door, it will lock automatically. Frantic calls to every family member finally tracked down my father who was driving around town (without his cell phone) and had the extra key. She was rescued in no time.

My mother is from the old school of thought that "only the laws that I want to apply to me, will apply to me" and absolutely REFUSES to wear a seat belt. I have never, EVER figured this out about her. However, the only way my father was going to allow her (now 73) to travel without him to Florida, was if she SWORE to him that she would wear the seat belt on this trip. Being the dutiful wife of 53 years that she is... she acquiesed.

Which explains the call I received from them a couple of hours ago. At least I think it was my aunt who called... the ID on my cell told me it was her, but it was difficult to understand her attempts to talk and laugh and hurry to the bathroom at the Cracker Barrell before she wet herself. Apparently, my mother has truly forgotten what a seat belt does. Most adults know that it keeps you secured and safe within your vehicle. If it works properly, you won't slide around while you are taking sharp curves (going over Monteagle Mountain, perhaps) and hopefully you won't be thrown out of the vehicle in the event of an accident.

Its security continues until you take it off. As of now, technology mandates that you manually operate the seat belt mechanism yourself. Simply put... you snap it on after you get in and you unsnap it when you get out. Pretty simple concept... and one that most children understand. But these are exceptional women we are talking about here. So, imagine the look on my mother's face as she attempts to exit the new vehicle WITH HER SEAT BELT STILL FASTENED!!! Apparently confusion reigned for her as she tried to figure out what sort of secret force had superglued her body to the contours of the Caravan's seat. Perhaps Darth Vader was lurking in the shadows and holding her steady within a hidden gamma ray force field. Or... perhaps she'd simply forgotten to unbuckle the seat belt.

My aunt's laughter rang over the miles as she made the call to me, increasing my enviousness of missing out on such an adventure, but helping me to the conclusion that they are not Thelma and Louise at all... merely Lucy & Ethel.